Why don't the Rangers leave Bartolo Colon in the rotation and put Mike Minor in the bullpen? Minor was great as a reliever for the Royals last season.
-- Chris T., Forth Worth, Texas
An argument can be made that that would be a smart thing to do for the Rangers in putting together the best pitching staff this year. Long-term considerations may be more important. Minor was once a solid starting pitcher for the Braves before missing two years because of injuries and then being used in relief last season.
The Rangers believe he still has the talent and the makeup to be a starter. That's why they signed him to a three-year deal this winter. Right now, he is the only Rangers starting pitcher signed for next year. The Rangers have options on Cole Hamels and Martin Perez, while Matt Moore, Doug Fister and Colon can all be free agents.
The point is, the Rangers need to decide this year if Minor is better as a starter than as a reliever. If he is, it's also important to build his innings back up so there are no restrictions on him next season. The Rangers need to take the long view on this one, at least for right now. There can't be any ambiguity surrounding Minor going into the winter.
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Are the Rangers planning to use Keone Kela as their closer for the full season or is he just holding down the job until Timothy Lincecum returns?
-- Charlie T., Oklahoma City
Kela is the Rangers' closer, and possession is nine-tenths of the law. Lincecum has yet to throw to opposing hitters and hasn't done so since 2016. He has looked good in his bullpen sessions, but it would be presumptuous to assign him to any role until he completes his personal "Spring Training" and actually gets into games.
The other part is Kela is in his fourth season, and he is healthy. The time is now to see exactly what he is capable of out of the bullpen going forward into next season. He has a chance to be outstanding as a closer, and the time has come to find out.
I think Willie Calhoun is a second baseman by trade. Would it not be a good idea to get him ready and replace Rougned Odor there? Odor is an average fielder and was a .204 hitter last season. I know he has a big contract and hit 30 homers last year, but at present he is struggling.
-- Jerry S., San Antonio
The Rangers need depth at both left field and second base. Calhoun's strength is his offense, that's what is going to get him to the Major Leagues, and he could be a productive bat for them. To do that, the Rangers need to pick one position for him and let him develop so that his defense doesn't offset his offensive contributions. He has shown signs of being able to handle left field. He just needs more experience out there.
Curious about the status of Austin Bibens-Dirkx. He had a great rookie year and his stats in spring were good. Where will he be?
-- Brian B., Keizer, Ore.
The Rangers' Rookie of the Year from last season is now at Triple-A Round Rock and pitching in the rotation. Depending on how he is pitching, Bibens-Dirkx would be a candidate for a callup if they needed a spot starter or a middle reliever. He had other opportunities this winter but chose to return to the Rangers. He was a great story last year, and the final chapter hasn't been written.
What are the prospects for Preston Beck being promoted to the Rangers? I think he has great potential and would be a positive addition to promoting winning success to the team.
-- Cindy D., San Antonio
Beck was a fifth-round pick in the 2012 Draft out of UT-Arlington and played high school ball at Bishop Lynch in Dallas. He has made steady progress through the Rangers' system, although he has been set back by injuries. He is a corner outfielder with a strong arm, but he hasn't shown enough power yet at the plate to merit big league consideration. It would be another great story if he could hit his way to Arlington.